Foodie tips, Gothenburg

Last September, Mr.A and I took a leisurely three-hour train ride to pop into Sweden‘s second biggest city, Gothenburg. It’s a lively, vibrant city with a great food scene. Here’s what we enjoyed…

# Breakfast at Scandic No. 25

We stayed two nights at the Scandic No. 25 during our stay and very much enjoyed their scrumptious breakfast which was included in the room tariff. The spread is impressive, hearty muesli, dainty sandwiches, flaky croissants, fluffy pancakes, it’s all in there. The lobby and dining area are pleasant to lounge around in. There is fika of tea, coffee, cakes & biscuits all day, too.

# Lunch at Feskekôrka

Feskekôrka translates to Fish Church, an indoor marketplace for seafood. We had an excellent lunch sharing a plate of grilled fish, a fish pasta in hot sauce & a delicious fish soup at the restaurant housed within the building. Seating is available both indoors & outdoors by the water. Although there is all kinds of raw fish being sold in the same premises, surprisingly there is no unpleasant fishy smell at all. The structure is unique in itself, standing there since the late 1800’s. Gothenburg’s fish harbour used to be across the canal – the men would bring in fish & women would sell the wares right where the fish church is. The building was built to give the fish sellers a place to sell fish during the colder winter months. It was very nice to be able to visit and eat at a place of historical interest. Plus the food and service were simply great.

# Fika at Cafe Husaren

By evening we wandered into Haga Nygata in Gamla Haga, the oldish part of town. The street itself has a quaint old town feel & Cafe Husaren complements that perfectly. The decor takes you back in time with those chandeliers hanging off a tiled ceiling and the beautiful tiles on the ceiling. The coffee is great, there is a splendid array of savoury pies, delectable cakes, and the unforgettable “queen of the kitchen” – a giant kannelbullar or the traditional Swedish cinnamon bun. Of course, if you can’t finish it, you can ask for a bag to take it with you 🙂 If I were living in Gothenburg, I’d be going there all the time!

Hope you enjoy the post! Have a great weekend!!

Things I love, Salzburg

During the long Easter weekend this year, Mr.A and I took off to Austria’s most popular destinations, Vienna & Salzburg. Remember I told you about those innumerable Easter eggs in Vienna? It was on the same trip, that we also dropped by Salzburg. I instantly fell in love with this city, spending our time walking around its diminutive Old Town, relaxed and care-free. Some things of course, stood out a little more than others…

# Love locks across the Salzach

Among the very first things one notices as they cross the river Salzach into the Old Town, is the Makartsteg bridge, almost every inch of which is covered in love locks. Perhaps it was intentional, but somehow the majority of the locks turned out to be red, giving it an utterly synchronous look. It’s impossible not to click a hundred pics, it’s so damn cute!

# Street signs on Getreidegasse

It’s hard to miss the ornate guild signs that announce the stores along Getreidegasse, the main street in the Old Town. Everything is available here, from food to fashion to trinkets to souvenirs, each shop bearing proof of its trade in the form of wrought iron signs. The beginning of this tradition was in the middle ages, but today even the McDonalds outlets and Zara boutiques on this street have their own medieval emblems. Incidentally, this street also boasts of Mozart’s childhood home where the artist first revealed his prodigy. How fascinating!

# Mozart’s church a.k.a. Salzburg Cathedral

Going by the number of spires and domes, one can easily guess that the city, especially the Old Town has an abundance of churches. I was obviously impressed by them, but I was particularly taken by the Salzburg Cathedral which is intricately painted ceiling in earthy tones against a white backdrop. Here Mozart played at Sunday service for two years. There are four strategically placed organs that transform the church into a concert hall. Sunday service is open to everyone to enjoy some brilliant music. From the outside, too, the cathedral is quite imposing and beautiful. The main facade opens into the spacious Cathedral Square, the centrepiece of which is a serene statue of Virgin Mary. Though damaged by a bomb during WWII, the reconstruction stands grander than ever.

# St. Peter’s cemetery

St. Peter’s cemetery and monastery opens up to visitors through a modest passageway, but as soon as I entered, it felt as though I were in a Secret Garden world. The cemetery is a cluster of tombs surrounded by pretty flower patches. It is overlooked by the cliffs of the Mönchsberg upon which looms the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Burial space in Austria is rented out, not sold, hence several headstones have ended up on the walls when the rented ceased to be paid.  A walk around this serene resting place for bygone souls can be a moving experience.

# Views from the Hohensalzburg Fortress

A short funicular ride up the Mönchsberg will bring you to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The ticket includes the funicular ride and entry to a couple of museums housed within the fortress and allows you to walk around the fortress at your own pace. The best part for me though, were the wide views offered at the top of the watch tower. We could enjoy a 360 degree look at the rolling landscape around us. It was a rainy day, every green thing appeared extra lush and vibrant! A couple of other vantage points along the fortress wall also dole out grand sights far & wide, over the spires and rooftops through the city, all the way across the river and as far as the mountains in the distance. So, so very beautiful…

Have you been to Salzburg? What did you love best?

The (Easter) egg came first / Vienna’s Easter Markets

I haven’t seen as many eggs within the span of two days as I did at the Easter markets in Vienna last weekend. Mr.A and I were in the beautiful Austrian capital, walking around town, hopping on and off the trams, and strolling in and out of its many cozy markets showcasing local crafts and delicacies, among plump fluffy rabbits, cocky roosters and an immense collection of gorgeously decorated eggs. By the end of it we’d seen eggs made of wood, wax and glass, eggs small enough to hold in ones palm to those towering high above my height, eggs dipped in mild vegetable dyes to those bedecked in gilded pearls, dainty crochet jackets or mini oil paintings, and honestly, every other kind of Easter egg in between!

Look, I baked my own bread!

I have tried to bake bread at home several times before, but sometimes the yeast wouldn’t rise, sometimes it would turn out to be a brick and sometimes it would taste like straw. In effect, epic fail, every single time. Until, that wonderful day when I chanced upon Alexandra’s Kitchen, and landed on her mother’s recipe for the perfect peasant bread. And if she claims that this is the best & easiest recipe, then just believe her, ’cause it just is! How she gets the ideal water temperature for the yeast to activate is the coolest tip ever, I tell you it always works. She uses 3 parts cold water to 1 part boiling water (right off the water kettle, for instance), and then equal parts of sugar & dry yeast. No more dormant yeast in my kitchen, hah! Plus it’s no-knead bread, so much better than one that requires muscle power, right? I’ve tried a few variations of the original, it’s turned out super delicious each time. As my colleague said, I’m now ready to be a grand-mom 😀 Here’s me showing off my newly acquired grand-mom skills 😎

My first attempt was to follow the recipe word by word. I really surprised myself with the result. I guess I didn’t have any expectations at all, heh heh.

Next time, I tried to mix the all purpose flour with wholewheat flour in the ratio 3:1, and added some dill. I also baked it in small cupcake moulds, and ramekins just to see how that went. The dill smelt & tasted so good, and these were great for breakfast.

The third time I tried to up the health quotient a bit more by changing the flour ratio to 5:3, the bread was slightly denser, but still quite fluffy. I think I’ll keep this as my standard, any more of the wholewheat will probably not be as yummy. I also put in some chopped up olives and sun dried tomatoes, which made by bread oh-so-fancy!

Do you have a perfect go-to recipe that you swear by? I’d love to know!